Saturday, August 31, 2019

Large Branded Foodservice Companies are More Vulnerable Today Than Ever Before

Pizza Hut has sold Football Shoes, Taco Bell has a hotel, McDonald’s sells more toys than any other retailer in the world and Coca Cola clothing can be see just about everyday in every country of the world. Recently, the chief marketing officers (CMOs) of these big consumer goods companies have achieved phenomenal success in recent years. They achieved the marketing holy grail of embedding their brands at the center of their consumers’ everyday lives and built titan reputations in the process.

The consumers are about to change all of that according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  While large legacy consumer brands that have long set the standards for the industry are no longer untouchable.  Today consumers are evolving faster than the most legacy brands is search of the next big thing, flavour, or meal and the uncurrent of brand discontent is rising.
Laura Gurski is senior managing director of Accenture's consumer goods and services practice and oversees the development and delivery of marketing, customer service, commerce and sales transformation services she recently wrote an article focused on:  Looking Beyond the Marketing Basics here is some of what she had to say that we found important:
“But being brilliant at the basics won’t be enough in the long run. A different approach from the CMO is now required to support a “living business”—one that can sense and respond to fluctuating consumer and market demands. And corporate leaders increasingly expect more from the marketing function. Accenture’s research shows 52% of consumer goods CEOs now hold their CMOs responsible for driving disruptive growth.
So CMOs must find a way to free themselves from their organizational shackles and devote more of their time to creating new relevance at scale to drive value and growth for the business. They have vital skill sets which will help ensure their organizations can continuously adapt to evolving customer needs, providing “hyper-relevant” experiences that deliver just what the consumer needs, just when they need it.

Meeting Consumers on Their Terms
The need to deliver personalized experiences and tailored marketing is becoming ever more pressing as a means of building consumer relationships for the long haul. Look at how the craft brewing sector is cleverly infusing “relevance” into its products. Intelligent Brewing Co.  is a great example. This innovative brand invites consumers to weigh in on beer flavors and carbonation levels via its website. This crowdsourced insight is then fed back into the brand’s algorithm to produce continuously refined and personalized beer recipes at scale, with the resulting brews shipped monthly to subscribers. That’s consumer relevance on a whole new scale.
We have also seen a wave of direct-to-consumer brands shake up the market by offering customers new experiences, as well as individually tailored products and services. Consider how Mink’s technology lets customers 3D-print self-designed makeup at home. Or how hair care brand Function of Beauty created  54 trillion possible formulations so that consumers can select a product to meet their individual “hair goals.”
Updating the Marketing ‘Tool Belt’
To achieve this kind of responsiveness, CMOs will need to bring new and enhanced strategies into play—platform thinking, silo busting, cutting-edge AI and analytics. These are the tools that leaders will use to build the titan reputations of tomorrow.
But many CMOs today are still being held back by legacy systems and processes—significantly more so than in other industries. Six out of 10 told Accenture they were unable to develop the more agile, dynamic organizations and operating models required in today’s fast-changing environment. And two-thirds of CMOs cited a lack of critical technology and tools as a top barrier to improving performance.

Focus on Getting to Growth
Transforming an entire marketing organization is no easy task. But by focusing on three key areas, CMOs can prepare their teams—and their companies—to thrive. They are:
·         Centering the entire business around growth, ensuring the organization can adapt and respond, not to where its customers are today, but to where they’ll be tomorrow. It means working across the organization to upgrade operating models and shape a far more consumer-centric culture.
·         Preparing to let go of traditional and familiar technologies. Modern, adaptable backend systems will deliver the agility that smaller, newer competitors are already enjoying. And technologies such as AI, analytics, and the internet of things will open new operating models and create different and much more personalized product and service innovation to serve consumers across a variety of channels.
·         Being ready to reimagine roles and ways of working. Taking inspiration from leaders who are moving away from vertical static structures to more flexible groups of multidisciplinary “pods”—small teams brought together to solve specific problems. And planning for entirely different kinds of skill sets, such as “immersive experience designers,” “storytellers,” “growth hackers” and “futurologists”—just some of the new types of talent CMOs said they expect to need in the years to come.

Finding the Freedom to Reinvent
The reality is there’s no longer any part of the business that isn’t impacted by marketing in some way. And the expectations on CMOs are growing significantly as a result.
They must therefore ensure they give themselves the freedom to take on this expanded role, balancing the need to deliver the marketing basics brilliantly and cost-effectively with the need to help the whole business drive real growth.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Friday, August 30, 2019

Bojangles’ Big Bo Boxes of Fans Football Food

It’s that time of the year when football fans start to gather and root for the ‘home team’.  College and NFL teams are the talk of the sports world and the kitchen table and Bojangles wants that table filled with food from Bojangles and why not.
This year Bojangles is expanding their tailgating Big Bo Box offering to include a commemorative 25th season-themed box with its home team, plus nine additional teams across the South. Yes, a collectable which adds incremental value while edifying personalization and customization according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
So, after a successful, first-ever redesign of the iconic Bojangles’ Big Bo Box with the Carolina Panthers last season, the company is expanding this year’s tailgating Big Bo Box offering to include a commemorative 25th season-themed box with its home team, plus nine additional teams across the South. The 10 newly designed Big Bo Boxes, which are available in stores now, give fans a new way to showcase their team pride and feed their crews with real deal Southern flavor ahead of all their games—home and away.
Jackie Woodward, chief marketing officer for Bojangles stated “Kicking off with our hometown team was a great test last year,”.. “It’s even more exciting to expand to a new NFL market for the 2019-2020 season and feature some of the top college football programs in the nation, such as the Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, and Georgia Bulldogs. These new boxes allow fans to not just throw a tailgate but own the tailgate with Bojangles.”
In addition to the Carolina Panthers, a Tennessee Titans box will also be available for NFL fans throughout that state. Featured college teams include the University of Alabama, Clemson University, East Tennessee State University, University of Georgia, James Madison University, University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, and Western Carolina University. Each college Big Bo Box will only be available at restaurants in the team’s primary market(s).
To receive one of the new Big Bo Boxes, guests will need to purchase and enjoy one of the Southern chain’s 8, 12 or 20-piece tailgate specials with their choice of home-style fixin’s, biscuits, Legendary Iced Tea, plus all the cups, plates and utensils to own your tailgate.
Continuing with consumer focused interaction fans are encouraged to share a picture of themselves and their favorite tailgating moments with the Bojangles’ boxes by using #LongLiveTheTailgate and tagging @Bojangles1977 on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for a chance to be featured on Bojangles’ social media pages.
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Online Grocer Boxed understands Price & Selection Matter

Once again successful growth can be defined understood by looking at two key pillars that are the basics of retail; price and selection.  Fast-growing online grocer Boxed seems to understand the fundamentals and is targeting its growth on Millennials leveraging both price and selection according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
In May, Boxed announced that it was joining forces with Lidl to bring online ordering and Boxed Express on-demand delivery to select Lidl locations. Lidl’s stores are known as grocer with great prices and an inviting selection of relevant well priced consumer packaged good and family friended home focused retail items.
So, the story is that Boxed is one of the leading startups in the grocery business, New York-based Boxed has raised $243 million in funding. The company has been the subject of acquisition rumors, and reportedly rejected Kroger’s $400 million purchase offer last year, while holding preliminary talks with Amazon, Target and Costco, according to Bloomberg News Service.
Now Boxed has teamed up with department store chain Century 21 to introduce a curated assortment of beauty and apparel products. The assortment will include brands such as Bare Minerals, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas and Ray Ban. This is Boxed’s first foray into apparel and cosmetics.
Gindi, EVP of New York-based Century 21 Stores  stated "Century 21 Stores is thrilled to partner with Boxed to bring our incredible designer brands at amazing prices to their audience who love online shopping convenience and value quality goods above all else," said Isaac. "It's exciting to provide a new way to shop a range of Century 21 products for our loyal customers alongside their day-to-day items that they know and love on Boxed."
The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes that Boxed is positioned to focus om meals and meal kit solutions given that Boxed revealed in July that it had hired former Amazon executive Prentis Wilson, who led Amazon Business’ growth to $10 billion in annual sales volume, as Boxed's first president. Stay tuned!
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. For more information visit , or call 1-253-759-7869

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Longo’s Focuses on Customer Meals

If success does leave clues it is clear that Canadian grocer Longo Brothers Market understands the undercurrent driving food customer migration according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® as they open a new concept store format focusing on meals and snacks.
The new concept called Pronto Eats, is a convenience-based grocery store is that opened Aug. 26 inside the Hudson’s Bay Centre shopping mall and office development in downtown Toronto. Longo’s said the outlet will carry a wide variety of ready-to-eat and semi-prepared meal and snack options, along with a specialized Longo’s CafĂ© service aka meals for the time starved urban consumer.
Longo’s said Pronto Eats caters to busy workers and commuters by offering a range of choices for each of the 35 meal and snacking occasions per week. The store also will offer delivery and free pickup through the retailer’s Grocery Gateway online service. So, these are meal solutions, most non-cooking meal solutions that save consumers time and money.
Rosanne Longo, brand ambassador at Longo’s, stated “For those who work inside or nearby, the PATH is a place where time, quality and convenience intersect, and this is at the core of what Pronto Eats plans to deliver,”.
Adding relevance for urban consumers, Pronto Eats will mark Longo’s first cashless store, allowing customers to skip the checkout line by paying for their items via the Ritual food app on their smartphones.
Longo continues “While the size of the store is a smaller scale than what our guests are used to, the fundamentals of the business remain unchanged. No matter the concept, location or size of the store, we are committed to carrying only the highest quality of food and merchandise, matched with excellent guest service,”
Pronto Eats was piloted earlier this summer at Longo’s Maple Leaf Square store, emerging from the retailer’s Meals Made Easy concept.  In the Meals Made Easy program, a centrally located kiosk merchandises the fresh ingredients needed for a meal. Shoppers hand-select their produce, meats, starches and garnishes to create a specific meal or follow a certain recipe. Recipes and step-by-step cooking guides are available at the kiosk and online.
Longo explained that “Our pilot test was designed to evaluate approachability and the depth of demand for this style of convenience,” … “The response from our guests was overwhelmingly positive, and we are thrilled to now bring this concept to life in an ideal location for our demographic and brand.”
Success does leave clues and fresh food fast where consumers can mix and match meal components into the perfect family meal is a hallmark of success within the grocerant niche according to Johnson.
Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson,  or

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Virtual Restaurants Continue to Evolve

Battle for Share of Stomach

Brick and mortar branded legacy restaurants continue to see a deteriorating business model according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. The chain restaurant business model of 1980’s, 1990’s and 2,000 is fading away as consumers continue to seek non-traditional avenues of fresh food distribution according to Johnson.
One branded restaurant operator is exploring new business models hoping to ensure a competitive footing with consumers. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the Chicago-based, restaurant group has announced the opening of a Whole30-branded virtual restaurant in Chicago in partnership with Grubhub. The delivery-only restaurant, called Whole30 Delivered, offers Whole30 approved meals based on the trendy lifestyle diet that emphasizes whole foods and the elimination of temptations like added sugar and alcohol.
R.J. Melman, Lettuce Entertain You president stated “We are thrilled to be working with two great organizations Whole30 and Grubhub  in putting together what we think is a very different delivery-only concept,”…“We think Whole30 is a great step forward for delivery-only kitchens.” 
Melman continued “Whole30 Delivered menu items include grain, sugar, legumes and dairy-free recipes created in collaboration with LEYE chefs such as Thai chicken-coconut-curry soup, Melissa’s Buffalo Chicken Salad, "spaghetti and meatballs" made with spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs, and roasted chicken tikka masala for an average price of $5.95 for side dishes like cauliflower rice to $13.95-$22.95 for entrees.
Melissa Urban, co-founder and CEO of Whole30 stated "While we love teaching participants how to cook Whole30 meals at home, it's a game-changer to have accessible, compliant, fast options for busy days,", said in a statement. "As a single mom and CEO, I'm already imagining how Whole30 Delivered could save the day with delicious, hearty meals when meetings run late or I'm traveling a lot."
The virtual restaurants will also offer deals like a "dinner for tonight, lunch for tomorrow" promotion that provides a discount on ordering multiple meals at once.
Delivery and quick-service meals made with the Whole30 diet in mind are trending: Chipotle announced a new meal category in January for “lifestyle bowls” to promote burrito bowl options for customers following trendy diets, including the Whole30 diet.  Is you brand evolving?
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Monday, August 26, 2019

Back to School Lunches Insights from Lunches + Littles

Well, it is that time of the year when kids go back to school and parents begin to think about preparing lunch for their kids or let them buy lunch at school.  Most of us did not like what was offered at school and preferred to take a ‘brown bag’ from home.  So, how do you do that in 2019?
Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® thinks on of the best insights out there today is “Lunches + Littles”.  One mom saw a need for a resource focused on quick, colorful recipes. Her mantra? Making meals fun doesn’t have to be hard! With three little ones (4, 5 and 6), it can’t be! Follow for more.
Today, lunches for schools can be time saving using mix & match homemade and grocerant niche fresh food options from your local food retailers.  Now @lunchesandlittles, they share daily lunch box inspiration and tips, as well as get a lot of great ideas from their community of followers.
They include retail options that make it easier for you by sharing some of  go-to lunches, favorite products from Whole Foods Market and three really simple tips that will ensure you are more prepped and less stressed this new school year. So, let’s take a look:
1. Keep it simple.
When it comes to packing lunches, keeping things simple is key. When we shop for lunch box add-ins, we pick up a whole lot from the produce section first. Think easy-to-eat fruits and veggies that can be cut into slices, cubes and sticks, as well as quick, grab-and-go options like From the Ground Up Cheddar Cauliflower Stars Crackers365 Everyday Value Unsweetened Apple Sauce Cups and Organic Valley Cheese Sticks.
2. Keep it colorful and fun.
We all eat with our eyes first — especially kids. So colorful, fun food and the overall presentation can be really important. We like to keep things fun by adding stars, hearts, flower shapes, etc., to our lunch boxes. Often, just a few little cuts with a sandwich cutter or mini cutters for smaller items (and the addition of a few fun food picks) can transform a meal into something pretty grand. A few extra minutes, generous pops of color and a little creativity can make food so much more exciting for kids.
3. Keep it familiar.
School lunchtime is probably not the time to start introducing new foods to your little one(s). Instead, we would suggest opting for foods that are familiar and save new foods for dinnertime or the weekends. But just remember to keep it familiar by packing lunch boxes full of foods your kids already know. You don’t want a little one away from home questioning what something is or how to eat it instead of doing the actual eating.

So now that we have gone through some of our easy tips, let’s take a look at three of our go-to lunches and show you how to make them happen:
Traditional Sandwich Lunch
Our school is not nut-free, so peanut butter works fine for us, and Justin’s Nut Butters are a great choice — we love the Honey Peanut Butter and the Vanilla Almond Butter. Take your nut butter, some jelly and a few slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread, and you have a traditional sandwich made a bit more wholesome. And, if your school is nut-free, try an alternative like Sunbutter, which is also available at Whole Foods Market.
Great lunch box additions include: 365 Everyday Value Organic Mini Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Crackers, 365 Everyday Value Drink Boxes and fresh in-season produce, like baby carrots, celery sticks, blueberries, mini cucumbers and grape tomatoes.
Mini Meatballs and More
If your little ones don’t particularly love sandwiches, or if you find yourself in a sandwich rut after a couple weeks, here’s an alternative: Homemade Mini Meatballs are easy to batch cook and make ahead, so you can quickly pack them up in the morning for school. We use organic, grass-fed beef or organic ground turkey from Whole Foods Market.
More wholesome lunch box add-ins include: Pirate’s Booty Snack PacksStonyfield Kids Snack Packs, 365 Everyday Value Organic Fruit Strips, 365 Everyday Value String Cheese, banana chips and more fresh produce including baby carrots and broccoli with Tessemae’s Organic Avocado Ranch Dressing for dipping (because kids love dips!).
Breakfast for Lunch
Our kids would probably eat breakfast foods every meal of the day if we let them, so occasionally surprising them with a taste of breakfast in their lunch box is a fun change of pace.
Now, if you follow us over on our feed @lunchesandlittles, you know we already do a lot of freezer-friendly waffles, and our Mini Broccoli and Cheese Toaster Waffles are one of our most popular recipes. These savory waffles are a delicious option that pack in broccoli and cheese. (To make them without dairy, simply use a dairy-free cheese alternative like Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds).
Some great options to add in to your breakfast box include: From The Ground Up Cheddar Caluiflower Stars, Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, striped bell pepper sticks, 365 Everyday Value Single-Serve Almondmilks, 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce Cups, and more fresh produce like strawberries and mini cucumbers.
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.